New acquisition, Springfield conversion


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James N.

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#43

captaindrew

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#44
This reminds me of my M.1840 I got from a friend. He had lightly cleaned and oiled it overall but I don't think he had taken off the lock. When I did, I found the tumbler and sear a bright, beautiful purple with casehardning!
I was pleasantly surprised how good it looked inside and it functions perfectly, just as good as my repros. I was a little nervous to take it apart but it all came apart very easily. With a few passes with an oily patch the bore looked really good too. The underside of the barrel and under the bands was still a bright finish. I know I won't look that good at almost 200 years old. How common was it to rifle these old conversions? I've been talking with Mr. Brenner about Greenwood and have been doing some research on that connection but I have to assume their were others doing it.
 

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1553012952875.png

I was pleasantly surprised how good it looked inside and it functions perfectly, just as good as my repros. I was a little nervous to take it apart but it all came apart very easily. With a few passes with an oily patch the bore looked really good too. The underside of the barrel and under the bands was still a bright finish. I know I won't look that good at almost 200 years old. How common was it to rifle these old conversions? I've been talking with Mr. Brenner about Greenwood and have been doing some research on that connection but I have to assume their were others doing it.
I purchased this one a little over a year ago and afterward did a bit of reading about them. In 1857 & 1858 Remington had a contract to convert them to the Maynard tape-primer system and rifled a lot of those converted, adding long-range leaf sights (which this one had but has been removed) and new longer bayonets more similar to those used with the M.1855 rifles. (Though retaining the old-style ring-less socket.) Unfortunately I don't know for certain whether this one has been rifled or not, since I found that it has been heavily restored, with several inches of the barrel and part of the forend of the stock being replaced. For additional pictures:
https://www.civilwartalk.com/thread...ard-tape-priming-system-rifled-musket.142599/
 

captaindrew

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#46
View attachment 297840

I purchased this one a little over a year ago and afterward did a bit of reading about them. In 1857 & 1858 Remington had a contract to convert them to the Maynard tape-primer system and rifled a lot of those converted, adding long-range leaf sights (which this one had but has been removed) and new longer bayonets more similar to those used with the M.1855 rifles. (Though retaining the old-style ring-less socket.) Unfortunately I don't know for certain whether this one has been rifled or not, since I found that it has been heavily restored, with several inches of the barrel and part of the forend of the stock being replaced. For additional pictures:
https://www.civilwartalk.com/thread...ard-tape-priming-system-rifled-musket.142599/
That sure is an interesting piece
 
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#47
Sorry for the silence; life got in the way of what's important. Anyway, I've looked at Schmidt's book (U.S. Military Flintlock Muskets, Vol. II) and there's quite a bit of information. Springfield, Harpers Ferry, Washington Arsenal, Watervliet, Allegheny, and St. Louis all converted muskets as did North Carolina, Frankford, Mount Vernon, and Kennebec. There is no info on the last four, though. Each of the arsenals marked their work differently, but generally speaking there's an Arabic numeral - often as part of an alphanumeric; B 82, for example -stamped on the stock along the barrel tang channel (could be on either side) or in front of the butt plate tang. The number should match the number stamped on the bottom of the barrel. But not always. Anyway, if you can find it and let me know, it is remotely possible that I may be able to tell you where the musket was converted. Through experience, though, I've noticed that such a system was not always followed. The stock markings could be anywhere on the stock and the barrel markings could be on the top, side, or bottom of the barrel. And the breech plug. There could also be the same alphanumerics stamped on the inside of the lock and on the hammer face. I guess the good news is that if you find matching numbers, it may not be possible to say where/when the musket was converted, but at least you'll know it's not a parts gun. BTW, the conversion process began in 1849 and continued through 1852.
One last thing: a bright light and a magnifier helps; the alphanumerics can be as small as 1/8 inch.
 

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Sorry for the silence; life got in the way of what's important. Anyway, I've looked at Schmidt's book (U.S. Military Flintlock Muskets, Vol. II) and there's quite a bit of information. Springfield, Harpers Ferry, Washington Arsenal, Watervliet, Allegheny, and St. Louis all converted muskets as did North Carolina, Frankford, Mount Vernon, and Kennebec. There is no info on the last four, though. Each of the arsenals marked their work differently, but generally speaking there's an Arabic numeral - often as part of an alphanumeric; B 82, for example -stamped on the stock along the barrel tang channel (could be on either side) or in front of the butt plate tang. The number should match the number stamped on the bottom of the barrel. But not always. Anyway, if you can find it and let me know, it is remotely possible that I may be able to tell you where the musket was converted. Through experience, though, I've noticed that such a system was not always followed. The stock markings could be anywhere on the stock and the barrel markings could be on the top, side, or bottom of the barrel. And the breech plug. There could also be the same alphanumerics stamped on the inside of the lock and on the hammer face. I guess the good news is that if you find matching numbers, it may not be possible to say where/when the musket was converted, but at least you'll know it's not a parts gun. BTW, the conversion process began in 1849 and continued through 1852.
One last thing: a bright light and a magnifier helps; the alphanumerics can be as small as 1/8 inch.
Is this what I'm looking for? What I thought was ST actually looking very close looks like a S and Arabic 7. This mark appears on the trigger guard and underneath the barrel.
20190319_221753.jpg
 

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Another common mark on the inside of the hammer, inside the lock, and under the barrel is an odd shaped U, it's visible on the pictures above. Also what I thought was a 3 under the barrel blowing up the picture and looking closely is actually some kind of symbol if that's a clue.
 
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#52
What I thought was a ding looking very closely appears to be a remnant of the same above mark on the side plate, it is about worn off but can clearly see a good part of the S and very faintly what looks like the top of the 7 symbol
It's hard to say. Sometimes only the remnants of the batch numbers remain from the conversion process. My guess is that the markings by the trigger guard are the initial of the stocker. Any marks that are on the underside of the barrel should be pretty clear, simply because they've been protected. Further reading of the references books indicates that sometimes the alphanumerics were not applied side to side (B 32) but were stamped one over the other (B/32) with an inch gap or so between the letter and number. This seems most common on the barrel stampings. Sometimes - again not always - they placed the number is on the inside of the lock on the brass plug where the flash pan was to ensure proper mating. But not always. Also, and I probably should have mentioned this earlier, the federal arsenals rifled some muskets without adding a rear sight, too, and applied an alpha numeric as well. The difference is that the front sight on them is not a brass blade, but a steel one. Anyway, as you can no doubt tell, finding and interpreting all the various stamps, marks, and cartouches ain't easy. I'm still trying to sort all this stuff out.

Three books that I've found useful are: Kent W. Johns, Springfield Armory Infantry Muskets 1795 - 1844 (Woonsocket, R.I: Mowbrey, 2015); Peter A. Schmidt, U.S. Military Flintlock Muskets and Their Bayonets, Volume II, (Woonsocket, R.I: Mowbrey, 2007); and George D. Moller, American Military Shoulder Arms, Volume III (Albuquerque: University Press of New Mexico, 2011). These are all good books, but there are contradictions among them; particularly when discussing Brother Greenwood.
 

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#54
It's hard to say. Sometimes only the remnants of the batch numbers remain from the conversion process. My guess is that the markings by the trigger guard are the initial of the stocker. Any marks that are on the underside of the barrel should be pretty clear, simply because they've been protected. Further reading of the references books indicates that sometimes the alphanumerics were not applied side to side (B 32) but were stamped one over the other (B/32) with an inch gap or so between the letter and number. This seems most common on the barrel stampings. Sometimes - again not always - they placed the number is on the inside of the lock on the brass plug where the flash pan was to ensure proper mating. But not always. Also, and I probably should have mentioned this earlier, the federal arsenals rifled some muskets without adding a rear sight, too, and applied an alpha numeric as well. The difference is that the front sight on them is not a brass blade, but a steel one. Anyway, as you can no doubt tell, finding and interpreting all the various stamps, marks, and cartouches ain't easy. I'm still trying to sort all this stuff out.

Three books that I've found useful are: Kent W. Johns, Springfield Armory Infantry Muskets 1795 - 1844 (Woonsocket, R.I: Mowbrey, 2015); Peter A. Schmidt, U.S. Military Flintlock Muskets and Their Bayonets, Volume II, (Woonsocket, R.I: Mowbrey, 2007); and George D. Moller, American Military Shoulder Arms, Volume III (Albuquerque: University Press of New Mexico, 2011). These are all good books, but there are contradictions among them; particularly when discussing Brother Greenwood.
I can't thank you enough for all your help. The odd shaped U is stamped on the inside of the brass plug inside the lock and again inside the hammer and under the barrel. I would say that has to be the best clue of the conversion that I can see. Armed with the knowledge you've shared I'm going to take it apart again later and take a closer look and photo all the marks separately and blow them up and see what I can find.
 

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#55
James Brenner - You have noted that when the Federal government rifled some muskets, without adding a rear sight, that they replaced the front brass blade sight with a steel one. Which muskets are you referring to, the M-1816 cone-inbarrel alterations, or the M-1842 alterations? And, do you mean a simple iron blade the same as the brass blade, or a steel front sight of a different configuration? I ask because the handful of M-1816 cone-in barrel muskets that I have seen which were rifled and unsighted all retained the original brass blade front sight.

Thank you for any clarifications you can provide!
J.
 

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A couple more quick notes after a second close inspection of all the pieces. The above mark S T is in fact S T found on the trigger guard, under the barrel, side plate, and last night also discovered them on the barrel bands. The script M seen inside the lock is also stamped on the breech plug. What I thought was a large H C stamped inside the lock after looking very closely may be a K C. There is a stamp on the back of the breech II. From pictures I've been looking at this may be a mark to match with the stock, I can't find any such stamp on the stock but there are so many little dings and illegible stamps it's hard to say. The only legible cartouche on the stock are the OHIO stamps. There is a faint 59 on top of the barrel near the breach across from the cone with what looks like either an I or 1 in front of it but the top of the mark is pitted over. This must be the numeric code @James Brenner was talking about. I have not found it anywhere else.
 

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#57
Would someone be willing to explain "Conversions for Dummies" for me please? The what and why? In some ways, a lot of these muskets and flintlocks look perfectly nice to me. Why would they be converted? To what? Thank you.

And, anytime anyone of you want to go into the weeds on harnesses, bridles, French billets, horse shoes, etc, I'll do the same for you!
 

captaindrew

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Would someone be willing to explain "Conversions for Dummies" for me please? The what and why? In some ways, a lot of these muskets and flintlocks look perfectly nice to me. Why would they be converted? To what? Thank you.

And, anytime anyone of you want to go into the weeds on harnesses, bridles, French billets, horse shoes, etc, I'll do the same for you!
It was originally built as a smoothbore flintlock and converted to percussion and this one was also rifled at some point. This was done in the 1840s and 50s to update the surplus flintlocks
 

captaindrew

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#59
Would someone be willing to explain "Conversions for Dummies" for me please? The what and why? In some ways, a lot of these muskets and flintlocks look perfectly nice to me. Why would they be converted? To what? Thank you.

And, anytime anyone of you want to go into the weeds on harnesses, bridles, French billets, horse shoes, etc, I'll do the same for you!
Thousands of these were issued early in the CW on both sides in a rush to arm the flood of new troops. When better arms were available they were phased out and replaced with newer weapons.
 
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#60
James Brenner - You have noted that when the Federal government rifled some muskets, without adding a rear sight, that they replaced the front brass blade sight with a steel one. Which muskets are you referring to, the M-1816 cone-inbarrel alterations, or the M-1842 alterations? And, do you mean a simple iron blade the same as the brass blade, or a steel front sight of a different configuration? I ask because the handful of M-1816 cone-in barrel muskets that I have seen which were rifled and unsighted all retained the original brass blade front sight.

Thank you for any clarifications you can provide!
J.
The short answer is that the M1816s and 22s had brass sights. The longer answer is that the 1850 Ordnance manual calls for a brass blade sight for conversion muskets (M1816/22s) and for M1842s, but at the time of publication, the muskets had not yet been altered to rifled muskets. By the time the 1863 manual came out, both models were obsolete and the manual spent little time discussing them. I will need to root through my notes for the exact source, but upon rifling in the mid-1850s, the front sight of both models was to be moved to the upper strap of the front barrel band. For a M1816/22, the sight looks very similar to the original brass sight and is on the upper strap. The front sight and sight base of arsenal-rifled M1842s is very distinctive and is also on the upper strap. But not always. I have one in my collection, but Reilly's book notes brass front sights for rifled M1842s. BTW, the front sight on a Greenwood alteration is a large brass blade on the upper trap without a sight base.

I hope this helps a bit.
 

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